What is the best clipless system?

fishyweb Posts: 173
edited October 2009 in Road beginners
I have a new pair of shoes coming, and will be getting some new pedals. What are the pros and cons of the different roadie clipless systems (e.g. the differnet Shimano ones, Look, Crank Bros etc)?
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  • Crank brothers and speedplay will allow you double sided entry systems. I have Speedplays as I'm used to spd's form my MTB which I also used on my roadie and still do on my commuter. I like to know I have 2 chances of not making an ass of myself when trying to clip in at the lights/ uphill. Compared to one way entry systems suh as look etc...

    The speed plays are great only problem I have had is when first using them as the spring is quite stiff. Also on a sportive i clipped out and walked on a muddyiosh gravelly bit at the cake stop and struggled to clip back in for quite a while. You need to place quite a bit of downward pressure onto the SP's for them to click into place. They're still 100% better than using spd's and think they are a great pedal system

    I've never used them so couldn't comment on what they are like, sorry.
    Bianchi. There are no alternatives only compromises!
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  • soveda
    soveda Posts: 306
    I've only used crank bros since my MTB has them on and I was too cheap to buy new shoes at first.
    Crank Bros can feel a bit "squirmy" underfoot but you do get the double sided entry (I use Candy pedals but I'm looking at getting some Acid pedals instead, mainly 'cos I can get them in red...) but make sure you get the proper 3 hole cleats (will add cost) as they have a U-shaped plastic channel that protects the cleat when walking/putting your foot down at lights etc.

    On the down side, other than the "squirming" (feels like your foot has been greased) you need to repack the axles regularily with grease otherwise they will fail and the springs have been known to break so keep your receipt! oh and you have more up/down movement than with SPDs (shimano MTB style).
  • top_bhoy
    top_bhoy Posts: 1,424
    I've only ever used Look clipless because its what I bought first many years ago and just got on so well with them, why change? They are easy to use after 10 minutes practice on a quiet path and although one-sided, the pedals are weighted. They are great for bike riding by giving a large foot/pedal platform interface. A downside is that they are not so good for walking in. Another positive that shouldn't be overlooked is that spare cleats are easily and readily available from most bike shops.
  • all the types have their pro's and con's. I only have experience with Look pedals and the mtb SPD's on my bro's bike. I think it's mostly a case of just getting used to either type. I loved the easy and double sided entry on the SPD's but I still felt more secure with my Look pedals. When I next come to buying pedals/shoes i think i will go for something that is easier to walk in as I'm on and off of my bike alot and use it for generally travelling around so recessed cleats would be a whole lot easier for going shopping and so on.
  • fishyweb
    fishyweb Posts: 173
    Thanks for the replies so far. At the moment, I am using SPDs so I can share the same shoes on my MTB and roadie. I love them on the MTB, but have Shimano A520 pedals on the roadie and find them a pain to clip into (they don't seem to be weighted). Also, I wanted new, lighter shoes for the roadie as well, hence the opportunity to change the clipless system I'm using.

    I have been looking at Shimano R540 pedals as there seem to be some good deals for these on ebay. But am not sold on these yet, hence the reason for this thread. So any further comments would be appreciated, especially if there is experience fo the R540s.
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  • ride_whenever
    ride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    crank bros no longer make roadie pedals, so i'd avoid.
  • huuregeil
    huuregeil Posts: 780
    Time RXS - does everything well, plus has cleats you can walk around in without killing yourself.

    http://www.bikesportmichigan.com/featur ... dals.shtml
  • Monsieur Fishyweb, I'm here to tell you that Monsieur Huuregeil is 100% correct.

    I have only had ONE clipless system - Time RXS. True, this means I am not qualified to comment on others. But I can tell you all about my experience.

    Time RXS are easy to fit. This is a real bonus for me as I'm not such a hot bike mechanic. I swap them between my single-speed and triathlon steed all the time. I know that other systems can be fiddly in comparison.

    They're beginner-friendly. As I say, this was my first and only clipless system. One afternoon spent messing around in them on Hampstead Heath and I was confident.

    They're low maintenance. After fitting, I've errr...done absolutely nothing to them in about 2 years and they still work perfectly, cleats and all. That's after miles of commuting, stepping down into London's crappy roads with all their crumbly gravel, glass, dead bodies...no wait... :shock

    They're solid and confidence-inspiring. When you're a roadie and need to put the hammer down, you should NEVER think about your pedals. If you do, it simply means that subconsciously, you don't have the requisite faith in them. When I did my first tri last year with these, all I thought about was my aero position and bending the sh*t out of my carbon cranks...!! :twisted: Planted, surefooted, dependable is what these animals are.

    Cleats are just not designed for walking, but by all accounts, these are by far the easiest to walk in. And until reading this article, I never knew that other pedal riders used these "cleat covers". I find that laughable....!!

    I don't really know the ins and outs of what float they use or what materials go into the damn things. But I can tell you that I don't get "clicky-knee syndrome" with these. Also, they seem to be made so that you become intuitively connected to them and know that very fine line between pushing the float to it's extreme and actually clicking out. That's what makes this system safe. You NEVER feel like you're caged in. NEITHER do you ever feel like you'll slip out accidentally.

    Speaking of accidents. I've only had one real doozy, opposite Old Street Fire Station in London. Pedals released me with no issues. And naturally they're still working fine too!

    I think it's true that other multiple-entry systems are easier to clip into. But this slight drawback is more than offset by all the advantages IMO. When racing, you only clip in once and that's it anyway. Even when commuting, you become used to it and after a couple of weeks, I stopped looking down when clipping in.

    Also, I've never experienced any squirming or stiffness like some of the people have mentioned here. And it's a good point someone made about the cost of replacement cleats. Not sure about that as I haven't needed a new set yet, but I guess that says something in itself, non...?

    I'm a sucker for a bargain and if you wait around you'll find these for a decent price. Unless you're a proper weight weenie, don't bother going for the carbon either. I got a red pair as they were going for a song. Unusual look, but stands out nicely against the black cranks and midnight blue frame of my Focus Izalco Expert (honestly!).

    Hope that helps, let us know how you get on. :P
  • soveda
    soveda Posts: 306
    crank bros no longer make roadie pedals, so i'd avoid.

    They still make roadie cleats though.
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    The R540 is a good budget pedal. It works just as well as the more expensive versions, the only down side being that the plastic pad that the cleat sits on wears in time. Only about £2 for new ones so not a big issue. The cleats are long lasting and are safer to walk in than Look. Wear in the walking pads does not affect clipping security.
    I do not like the A520 SPDs because they are not weighted, I use the M520s in winter, they work just as well on road bikes.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,242
    I always used Time for the reason that I started cycling when clipless were first becoming popular and back then Look were the only other option and Time offered a high level of float whilst Look was much more fixed. Since then things have obviously developed and now all pedals seem to have a reasonable degree of float available.

    The downside I found with Time was that other than with Time's own shoes an adapter was required to fit the cleats and so you were left with, effectively, a Look cleat and a time cleat on the bottom of the shoe. Now that I have started cycling again and needed new shoes I have switched to Simano SPD SL and have the R540 pedals. To be honest there is little between them and the Time pedals really, both very similar to get in and out of but I find walking in the shoes far easier than with the Time cleat + adaptor. My only criticism of the Shimanos so far is that you don't get a really positive click when engaging or disengaging and I have also found that if I disengage in anticipation of a junction I sometimes re-engage unintentionally without putting much pressure on the pedal. However, this may improve when I play around with the tension adjustement a bit.

    If you are going to be pretty much riding non-stop while on the bike you want to fit these pedals to I would have said you are better going for a road specific pedal over an MTB type but if you are likely to be pushing your bike or needing to unclip regularly then maybe staying with an MTB system is the best option.
  • eh
    eh Posts: 4,854
    The downside I found with Time was that other than with Time's own shoes an adapter was required to fit the cleats

    Time changed that a long time ago, since about 2002 Time have used the standard Look 3 bolt pattern, so Times should work with any standard road shoe.

    Time user here, having also used Shimano spds (MTB) and original Look. Out of those Time are leaps above for road riding. 2 big advantages for me with Time are that the cleats last ages and the float is really nice.

    However, while I'm a big Time fan I suspect that SPD-SL and Look Keo will also do a decent job.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,242
    Time changed that a long time ago, since about 2002 Time have used the standard Look 3 bolt pattern, so Times should work with any standard road shoe.

    Wish I'd known that before getting my new pedals - I always liked Time other than that issue. :oops: Maybe on my new bike then (I'll obviously have to switch my training bike to Time again then! :P )
  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    I'm like everyone else. I HAVEN'T tried them all. Using Shimano DA's right now with no problems. Easy in, no problem unclipping. No complaints. More than happy with them.
  • kevin69
    kevin69 Posts: 87
    i've used shimano m520 and m540 spds and found them ok for
    30 miles or so, but then they start to give me knee pain. They are dirt cheap.

    i'm currently using speedplay zeros which are far more adjustable
    and comfortable for my knees, but need greasing every four months or so.
    This takes under 5 mins with a grease gun.
    Speedplays are far more expensive though, and awkward to walk in.
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    Looks are all I know so I stick with them. Good pedal system.
  • fishyweb
    fishyweb Posts: 173
    Thanks for all the feedback. Very much appreciated.

    My final decision is going to be delayed a little, as the shoes I ordered did not fit :oops: , and the larger size are no longer available anywhere, so I need to re-think that one (may go for the cheap Wiggle dhb ones, as they seem to have good reviews). I reckon my clipless choice will be either Look or Shimano. Time and Crank sound very good, but are a bit too procey for me. And no one seems to be saying that there is much wrong with the cheaper systems.

    Thanks again.
    Member of http://www.UKnetrunner.co.UK - the greatest online affiliated running club